Showing posts with label Fort Sam Houston. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fort Sam Houston. Show all posts

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sgt. Maj. William A. Robles Passed Away

Army South soldier dies from illness
Army Times
By: Charlsy Panzino
January 6, 2017

A Texas-based soldier died Thursday after a prolonged illness, according to an Army release.
Sgt. Maj. William A. Robles, who was assigned to the Regional Affairs Directorate at U.S. Army South, died at the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

Robles served as an instructor at the Brazilian Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, part of the Army South Military Personnel Exchange Program, according to the release.

“We are extremely saddened and will miss Bill tremendously. He was an incredible Soldier who has served his country for decades and inspired everyone he encountered. I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Sgt. Maj. Robles’ family and to everyone who knew him,” Maj. Gen. K.K. Chinn, commander of Army South, said in the release. “He was a credit to the uniform he wore.”

Robles, born in El Salvador but raised in Los Angeles, enlisted in the California National Guard in 1986 and entered active duty in 1988 upon graduating high school.

He became an Army Special Forces communications sergeant and served multiple assignments in the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He deployed to Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
read more here

Monday, July 27, 2015

Amputee Iraq Veteran Tries for WWE

Disabled local veteran now WWE hopeful 
The Courier Journal
Connor Casey
July 26, 2015
Iraqi War veteran, Michael Hayes, 29, completes a set of lateral rises during an afternoon workout at the Louisville Athletic Club. In 2006, during a deployment in Iraq, Hayes' Humvee was caught in an IED blast. He was the only survivor in the accident, suffered burns to his body and lost the bottom of his left leg. Hayes spent a year confined to crutches or a wheel chair and said he was more than excited to receive a prosthetic. “When they put me in that leg it was awesome,” said Haynes, “It was liberating.”
(Photo: Alyssa Pointer/The Courier-Journal)

Michael Hayes is tough; tough enough to join the military straight out of high school, tough enough to drag himself out of a destroyed Humvee in Iraq carrying his detached left leg and tough enough to become a professional wrestler.

Born at Fort Knox and raised in Louisville, Hayes decided at an early age that he wanted to be a professional wrestler. He graduated from Seneca High School in 2004, joined the U.S. Army, and was eventually deployed to Iraq.

In August 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq, Hayes was riding in a Humvee hit by an IED (improvised explosive device). Hayes was the only survivor, and he had to drag himself away from the wreckage carrying his own left leg, which had been blown off from the knee down. Along with losing the leg, he sustained a broken hip, a crushed right heel, shrapnel damage in his hands and burns on 35 percent of his body.

Hayes believes now that his injury is what opened the door for him to pursue his childhood dream.

"I think what was necessary was for me to experience some sort of catastrophic pain and suffering, which would allow me to grow enough to where I could accept and actually appreciate doing what I've wanted to do my entire life," Hayes said.

He spent the next 18 months undergoing rehabilitation and physical therapy at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, using the prosthetic leg he'd have for the rest of his life.
read more here

Monday, February 9, 2015

OMG! WTU Soldiers Told "Sleep is like a bullet for your brain"

This is what Horoho said in the original interview with Army Times about Warrior Transition Units treating PTSD soldiers,,,,or should I say, abusing them. Now you can read the different version on the Army Military site.
"I thought the investigation was very thorough," said Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, regarding the investigation at the Colorado fort. "I believe it gave the facts and verified there wasn't a systemic problem, but it did show we had two clinicians who treated one Soldier with a lack of dignity and respect."

Speaking with the Pentagon press in a roundtable, Feb. 6, Horoho said a doctor and social worker had been disciplined. The doctor was removed from his leadership position and the civilian received disciplinary action at the local level, she said.

Horoho said the incidents between the Soldier and the two health care providers occurred between February and May 2014. She also said there had been complaints by other Soldiers stretching back to 2011, but after review they were determined "not to contain problematic behavior by the providers."
One soldier? Seriously? Ok, read down below and then go to the Dallas Morning News link on exactly how this one soldier she was talking about was many more.
What the hell is this supposed to mean? Is Lt. General Patricia Horoho saying that they knew what was going on before the Dallas Morning News and NBC interviewed the abused veterans but didn't do anything to fix it? Is she saying that?
"They weren't concerns that an outside source came to us and said do you realize you have these problems," Horoho said at a round-table update on her command for members of the media at the Pentagon on Friday. "We have eight different avenues (for) our warriors and their family members to have their voices heard. When those concerns come up, each of them is looked at and then we take appropriate action."
As bad as that was, this was down toward the end of the article.
"Now we've got leaders, one of the generals told his soldiers, sleep is like bullets for your brain. You never go to battle with an empty magazine," she said. "If you get six hours of sleep or less six days in a row, or go 24 hours without sleep, you have 20 percent cognitive impairment, and you are operating as if you had a .08 BAC [blood alcohol content]. We would never let a soldier in our formation intoxicated."

OMG! Bullets to the brain is how most of them commit suicide! Poor choice of words doesn't come close to explaining that BOHICA nonsense.

OK, so if you happened to have been living off reality TV and not paying attention the Dallas Morning News and NBC out of Texas filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Warrior Transition Units after learning of PTSD soldiers being treated like crap. Considering the Army had been telling the citizens they addressing the stigma instead of fueling it, and helping soldiers recover from combat, instead of finding excuses for them committing suicide, turns out, it wasn't what they claimed.

They waited for the request and then did a six month investigation. Maybe that is what Horoho was talking about since it gave them plenty of time to do their own investigation to find out what the reporters were discovering. Who knows?

Here is the link to the rest of the article as she twists and turns to talk about, oh well, there won't be that many needing the Warrior Transition Units anyway, after this part,
News outlets in Dallas reported in November that hundreds of soldiers had suffered a pattern of "disrespect, harassment and belittlement of soldiers" at WTUs at Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, and Fort Sam Houston in Texas. Another incident led to discipline against a physician and a social worker at Fort Carson, Colorado, for actions dating to early 2014.

Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the Army surgeon general, affirmed that while even one case of abuse isn't tolerable, most of the complaints turned out to be medical care-related and about 24 cases of harassment have been dealt with. And she said the reports documented issues that the Army already uncovered itself.

If that was the truth then why did this happen after the investigation?
The Army has ordered new training to address complaints from wounded soldiers describing harassment and intimidation inside the nation’s Warrior Transition Units, which are supposed to help these soldiers heal.

The order comes as two prominent Texas congressional leaders are demanding that the Army address the issues first raised in a joint investigation by The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV (NBC5) about three of the units in Texas.

Sen. John Cornyn, in a strongly worded letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh, said he found “highly disturbing” complaints about verbal abuse, disrespect and unfair treatment within the Army’s Warrior Transition Units, or WTUs.

You can read the rest of the investigation here
About this series
Injured Heroes, Broken Promises,” a joint investigative project between The Dallas Morning News and NBC5 (KXAS-TV), examines allegations of harassment and mistreatment in the U.S.’ Warrior Transition Units, which were created to serve soldiers with physical and psychological wounds. Reporters David Tarrant, Scott Friedman and Eva Parks based their findings on dozens of interviews with soldiers, Army officials and medical experts, and hundreds of pages of military documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Go to the link and be sure to check out everything they discovered.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Disabled Iraq Veteran Evicted Over Service Dog "Pet Fee"

Army vet, service dog evicted over unpaid 'pet fee' 
Dillon Collier
January 15, 2015
"Section 504 of the Fair Housing Act states service animals are not pets. It goes on to outline how housing providers cannot enforce pet policies on residents who use service animals."
Checkers is David Palasek's service dog. (Photo: Jason Gonzales)
David Palasek, who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan for the Army and the Army National Guard, was evicted Dec. 22.

BANDERA, Texas -- A disabled Army veteran and his service dog were evicted from a Bandera mobile home last month, following a months-long dispute over an unpaid "pet fee."

David Palasek, whose seven years of military service included tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan for the Army and the Army National Guard, was evicted Dec. 22.

He refused to pay the pet fee, citing the Fair Housing Act, which protects people who use service dogs from being discriminated against.

"If it's happening to me, it's going to happen to other people," said Palasek, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and injuries to his neck, spine, knee and shoulder in a Humvee accident and separate IED attack in Iraq. Palasek is also a cancer surviver, beating testicular cancer in recent years.

Doctors told Palasek his gunner's harness contributed to the disease, which he received treatments for at hospitals at Lackland Air Force Base and later Fort Sam Houston. Paperwork from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs indicates Palasek is 90 percent disabled.
read more here

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Soldiers in WTU with PTSD degraded and told to "man up"

Why do they not go for help? Why do they feel as if there is still a reason to be ashamed? The answer is because of the attitude of too many in the military.
"Howard said the WTU medical staff tried to help but the unit’s non-medical commanders treated him more like a drunk and a troublemaker who needed to be punished, not a soldier suffering from PTSD who needed compassion."

This is the result of "resilience training" telling them it was their fault. When brass told soldiers it is to make them mentally tough, that meant they were mentally weak. When brass told them this, it was because of what they actually believed no matter how many years have proven them wrong.
Injured Heroes, Broken Promises: Injured Soldiers Question Training of WTU Leaders
Soldier with PTSD questions being given leadership role inside WTU
NBC 5 and Dallas Morning News
By Scott Friedman, Eva Parks and David Tarrant
November 24, 2014

NBC 5 Investigates found hundreds of injured soldiers complain of harassment and verbal abuse inside the Army’s Warrior Transition Unit’s (WTUs) that were designed to help active duty soldiers heal.

Now, more questions have surfaced about how the Army chooses WTU commanders and how much training they’re receiving to care for injured soldiers.

NBC 5 Investigates teamed up with The Dallas Morning News for a six month investigation to uncover stunning allegations described by soldiers recovering in Texas from the wounds of war.

Spc. Michael Howard returned home to Texas Dec. 24, 2011. It was the moment every family waits for. “Life was perfect that day,” said Robin Howard, Michael’s wife.

But for Robin and Michael Howard, the homecoming wasn’t the happy ending it appeared to be.

Michael Howard served as an Army medic in Southeastern Iraq and the images of combat traveled home with him.

Suffering from post-traumatic stress he tried to erase the memories by self-medicating with alcohol to get rid of the pain.

The Army sent Howard to the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Hood, which is one of more than 20 special units created across the country to treat mentally and physically injured soldiers.

When Howard first arrived at the unit he said he was expecting to find relief but instead found nothing but stress.

Howard said the WTU medical staff tried to help but the unit’s non-medical commanders treated him more like a drunk and a troublemaker who needed to be punished, not a soldier suffering from PTSD who needed compassion.

He said commanders told him to “man-up” and “get over it,” even calling him degrading and offensive names.
read more here
Part One

Monday, November 24, 2014

WTF! Fort Hood WTU Mistreatment of Wounded Soldiers!

PTSD soldiers treated like recruits "had to be whipped into shape" and they wonder why soldiers don't want to seek help?
Injured Heroes, Broken Promises: Hundreds of Soldiers Allege Mistreatment at Army Warrior Transition Units
Wounded soldiers found harassment and verbal abuse from commanders assigned to care for the injured.
By Scott Friedman, Eva Parks and David Tarrant
NBC 5 and Dallas Morning News
November 24, 2014

NBC 5 Investigates has learned hundreds of America's active duty soldiers have complained about harassment, verbal abuse and mistreatment at the Army’s Warrior Transition Units that were designed to help the injured heal.

NBC 5 investigative reporter Scott Friedman teamed up with The Dallas Morning News' Dave Tarrant for a six-month investigation to uncover the stunning allegations described by soldiers recovering in Texas from the wounds of war.

The soldiers returned home injured, both physically and mentally, and were once again under attack as they were ridiculed, harassed and threatened by commanders assigned to help the recover.

Army Sgt. Zack Filip served as a combat medic at a primitive outpost in Afghanistan earning a bronze star for valor as he treated the wounded in harsh conditions, under nearly constant attack.

"I thought I was going to die there. I mean I had actually prayed about it and came to peace with the fact that I was going to die," said Filip.

Filip came home to Fort Hood suffering from post-traumatic stress — haunted by things he had seen. Then came another nightmare; the 2009 Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead.

Filip jumped into action — helping save the life of a wounded police officer. For his heroics The Army Times named him the 2010 "Army Soldier of the Year."

"I was just kind of in awe of the whole situation”, Filip said.
read more here

Monday, July 28, 2014

Humor Helps Wounded Green Beret

Humor helps wounded Green Beret cope 
Lewiston Tribune, Idaho
By Elaine Williams
Published: July 27, 2014
Staff Sgt. Cody Ensley is awarded the Purple Heart, for wounds he received while performing his duties in Afghanistan, by Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John F. Campbell at San Antonio Military Medical Center on Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Jan. 3, 2014.

Laughter comes easily to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Cody Ensley, less than a year after he nearly lost his life in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device detonated.

Words are still a struggle, something that can be frustrating for the Green Beret who was fluent in Spanish and had mastered a smattering of an Arabic dialect used in the region where he was deployed.

Sitting close to his wife at the home of friends, Ensley, 26, a 2006 Lewiston High School graduate, answered questions, often with single words, during his first visit to Idaho since the attack.

"He knows what he wants to say, but that speech center is so damaged, he just can't get it out," said his wife, Ashley Ensley. "We play charades a lot."

The Ensleys planned to see his family, catch up with friends and attend a fundraiser at Canter's Inn in Lewiston. The trip is a celebration of how far Ensley has come.
read more here

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl going back to duty after only a month of therapy?

Five years as a POW but treated for just a month, Bergdahl is going back on duty. Does that make sense to you?
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, freed Afghanistan prisoner of war, will return to duty early as Monday: report Bergdahl, 28, who was captured in 2009 and freed in May in exchange for five Taliban prisoners, will resume his military career at the Army North headquarters at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
Monday, July 14, 2014

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was a Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, will reportedly return to duty as early as Monday.

Bergdahl, 28, who was freed in May in exchange for five hardened Taliban prisoners, will resume his military career at the Army North headquarters at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, The New York Times reported.

Since returning to the U.S. on June 13, Bergdahl has received therapy at the base.
read more here

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Soldier's dying wife gives birth to son

Pregnant but Dying, Army Wife Gives Birth to Son
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2014
"Just save my baby"

NEWSER) – When 21-year-old Army wife Yesenia Ruiz-Rojo went to the hospital in Fort Hood, Texas—almost 4 months pregnant, seemingly healthy, but experiencing excruciating abdominal pain—doctors discovered a gigantic tumor covering more than two-thirds of her liver. She was diagnosed with aggressive liver cancer and given two to four months to live, reports the US Department of Defense. Just save my baby, she said. But as Raul Palacios, chief of interventional radiology at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, explains, "There was nothing out there we found in conventional medicine that would offer her any hope" of that happening. "We weren't aware of anything in the past that had been tried successfully before."

Its size and location made the tumor impossible to remove, while chemo would likely kill the fetus. So experts from more than a dozen specialties decided to try a new treatment, called selective internal radiation therapy with Y-90.
read more here

Procession 3 miles long escorted fallen Marine Home

New Braunfels welcomes home fallen Marine
Sgt. Thomas Spitzer killed last week in Afghanistan
ABC 12 News
By Stephanie Serna
KSAT Reporter
July 4, 2014

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - It was an emotional homecoming for fallen Marine Sgt. Thomas Spitzer, 23, as the New Braunfels community gathered along FM 758 to thank the young sergeant and his family for his service.

"To show support for the family and their extreme loss," said Rhonda Sanders, a New Braunfels resident.

"He gave all so we can have the freedoms we have today."

Spitzer was killed just over a week ago while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan.

On Friday, a nearly 3 mile long procession with patriot guard riders, emergency vehicles, family members and friends made its way through New Braunfels to honor the fallen Marine.
read more here

Monday, February 10, 2014

Soldier found dead at Fort Sam Houston

Soldier discovered dead on Fort Sam Houston identified
by KENS 5 staff
Posted on February 10, 2014

FT. SAM HOUSTON -- A soldier found dead at Fort Sam Houston on Sunday has been identified.

Specialist Ian Patrick Morgan, 28, was discovered in a stairwell near his barracks on post, according to a Fort Sam Houston official.

SPC Morgan was assigned to the 56th Signal Brigade, 7th Signal Command and the 21st Signal Brigade, according to a Fort Sam Houston release.
read more here

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wounded Soldier feels the love from 350 San Antonio blood donors

Soldier receives rare blood type after center seeks help
by Kens 5 Staff
September 18, 2013

SAN ANTONIO --A wounded soldier with a rare blood type received more than enough blood thanks to the San Antonio community.

The 22-year-old soldier, who did not want to be named, is being treated at Fort Sam Houston after an IED blast in Afghanistan left him with severe burns.
read more here

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fort Bliss soldier died of wounds suffered in April

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Robert E. Thomas Jr., 24, of Fontana, Calif., died Sept. 13, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, of wounds suffered during a non-combat related incident on April 21, 2013, in Maiwand, Afghanistan.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bliss, Texas

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Wounded soldier's wife went into early labor

Pregnant wife of hero soldier who lost a lung in Afghanistan went into labour two months early after seeing his 'horrific injuries'
Daily Mail
1 September 2013

At almost seven months pregnant, Helen Molloy faced every army wife's worst nightmare when two grim-faced soldiers came knocking at her door.

She was told her beloved husband Tom, who was deployed in Afghanistan as a Lance Corporal, had been dreadfully wounded by a mortar attack which claimed the lives of two of his friends.

Despite an eight-hour emergency operation at Camp Bastion, his life still hung in the balance.

Tom was flown to Birmingham, where he was rushed to the military medical unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston.

Desperate with worry, Helen was handed her husband's wedding ring, which he always wore round his neck as a symbol of their love.

She was warned that there might not be another chance to say she loved him.

The shock proved too much, and sparked a second emergency as Helen went into labour nine weeks early.

'When two soldiers turned up at my door and asked if I was married to Tom Molloy, I thought that was it,' says Helen, 32, who already had a daughter, Amelia, then just two years old.

'I thought my husband was dead. I’d been out shopping for things for my baby shower. The soldiers told me Tom had been injured by a mortar attack but they couldn’t tell me much more. I felt so scared.'
read more here
New lung bypass center could bring wounded home faster
Army Times
By Michelle Tan
Staff writer
Aug. 19, 2013

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS — Spc. Eric Griego was on patrol in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province when his unit was ambushed and an enemy bullet tore into his neck.

“I stumbled to the ground. I wasn’t even sure what happened,” Griego said. “I fired off a few shots and my left arm, from shoulder to fingertips, was completely numb.”

Griego, of 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, then began having trouble breathing.

The bullet had entered the lower left side of his neck, damaged part of his left lung, ricocheted off the third vertebra in his spine, and then destroyed all of his right lung.

It was Oct. 18, 2010.

Days earlier, the military in Afghanistan received the equipment and specialists required to give patients a process called extracorporeal member oxygenation.
read more here

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Double Amputee Afghanistan veteran becomes Dad

Wounded staff sgt., soldier wife use in-vitro benefit
Army Times
By Michelle Tan
Staff writer
August 21, 2013

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS — After six years of marriage, Army Staff Sgt. Ed Matayka and his wife, Sgt. Karen Matayka, were ready to start a family as soon as they returned from Afghanistan.

“We decided to put it off until this last deployment,” Karen Matayka said. “I guess the joke’s on us.”

On July 2, 2010, four months into their tour, Ed Matayka’s vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

The driver, Spc. Ryan Grady, was killed. Ed Matayka, who was sitting behind Grady, lost both of his legs above the knee, injured his spinal cord in two places and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He wasn’t expected to survive.

But after countless surgeries, two strokes and months of rehabilitation, Ed Matayka reclaimed his life, with his wife and fellow soldier by his side.
read more here

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Female Instructor at Fort Sam Houston Medical Center shot

Fort Sam shooting suspect identified
Army Times
Michael Tan
June 11, 2013

The man who shot and wounded an active-duty Army captain Monday at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, has been identified as Alvin Leon Roundtree, 51, a retired sergeant first class.

He faces federal charges of domestic violence.

Roundtree appeared in court today and remains in custody. If convicted, Roundtree faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The captain, whom officials are not identifying but said was Roundtree’s common-law wife, was in stable condition at San Antonio Military Medical Center.

The captain, who had been an instructor at the Army Medical Department Center and School for less than a year, was shot four to six times, according to the criminal complaint against Roundtree.
read more here
1 Wounded in Shooting at US Army Post in Texas
Associated Press
by Paul J. Weber
Jun 11, 2013

SAN ANTONIO - An instructor at an Army medical training school at a military base in Texas was wounded Monday when a fellow servicemember shot her outside her office, authorities said.

The suspect later surrendered to police, and authorities say no one else was ever in danger.

Col. Jim Chevallier, vice commander of 502 Air Base Wing, would not give the identity of the shooter or victim or discuss any possible relationship between the two. But San Antonio Police Chief William McManus told the San Antonio Express-News that the victim and shooter were involved in a relationship.

The incident took place at Fort Sam Houston's Army Medical Department Center and School at about 2:50 p.m. Authorities said the shooter was a soldier who came into the victim's office and began talking to her. The pair then continued a discussion on a veranda outside the building, where the shooter eventually fired multiple shots from a handgun, Chevallier said.

It was not clear how many shots were fired. The victim's co-workers are medical professionals, and they were the first to attend to her wounds, Chevallier. She remained hospitalized on post late Monday and was in stable condition.
read more here

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Army couple told no record of them voting over last 8 years!

Some voters face registration issues at polls
Reported by: Ian Silver

Thousands of Tulsa voters cast their ballots during early voting, but a small handful were turned away at the polls because they were no longer registered to vote.

Kiersten Lane wanted to teach her two young children how important it is to vote.

"We waited until they got out of school on Friday and we went and stood in line for about an hour," Lane said.

But that hour-long wait turned out to be a waste of time.

"It took them about 10 minutes to find me in the system, and they said that I had been deleted and taken out of the system due to inactivity."

According to Oklahoma law, there are five reasons a person's voter registration can be canceled:
-The death of the voter.
-The voter is convicted of a felony.
-The voter is legally determined to be incapacitated.
-The voter moved out of the area and registers elsewhere.
-The voter has not responded to correspondence from the county and has not voted for more than four year.

But none of those reasons apply to Lane and her husband.

In 2004, Lane and her husband voted absentee from Fort Hood, Texas, where her husband was on active duty in the U.S. Army. In 2008, they were stationed at Fort Sam Houston outside San Antonio, Texas, and again voted absentee.

"I am worried," Lane said. "They aren't accounted for. There isn't a record whatsoever of our votes for the last eight years."
read more here

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Military suicide prevention class included time of prayer

As a Chaplain, I'm all for including spiritual healing when helping veterans with PTSD. Why? Because when it is done right, it works. After 30 years, I've been pretty successful, including in my own marriage that has lasted 28 years. It helps them heal and it helps their families. I've been able to talk veterans "off the ledge" because of sharing my faith with Christian veterans but have to adapt what I say to "non-believers" along with people of other faiths. If I am talking to an atheist, I ask if I can pray for them and say a silent prayer for their healing and comfort. My job is to help them and I can't do that if what I say shuts off their ears or makes them want to leave the room. If they cannot trust that I do no have another motive other than helping them, then they will not believe anything I say.

This story greatly saddens me. The young soldiers felt they had to stay there and listen to a Chaplain's Christian prayer at a time when they were supposed to be hearing about staying alive. Whatever else was said would have forgotten because they would have felt as violated as this 17 year career veteran.

Army Chaplain Holds Christian Prayer During Suicide Prevention Class, Soldiers Say
Huffington Post
Posted: 10/02/2012
Andrea Stone

During an Army-wide stand down for suicide prevention sessions, a Christian chaplain in Texas improperly led rookie soldiers in a candlelight prayer, an Army instructor said in a formal complaint last week.

Staff Sgt. Victoria Gettman, a lab technician instructor at Fort Sam Houston, told The Huffington Post that she was among 800 soldiers from the 264th Medical Battalion undergoing resilience training on Sept. 26. Almost all of the soldiers were fresh out of boot camp and in training for their first job in the Army.

After a 45-minute talk on how to cope with stress, the officer in charge turned the stage over to a chaplain for the sometimes controversial "spiritual fitness" part of the session.

Gettman did not catch the chaplain's name, and he has not been otherwise publicly identified. But as an atheist, she wasn't interested in what he had to say so she stood up and moved to the back of the auditorium. 

The 17-year Army veteran knew -- unlike the young soldiers -- that this part of the program was optional. Still, she could hear most of what the clergyman said from just outside the room.

"The chaplain said we have to have something bigger than ourselves. We need, and he stresses need, to have something divine in our life," she recounted, adding that the soldiers were not informed they were allowed to step out.

Gettman said the chaplain ordered the lights turned off and battery-operated candles passed around as the soldiers were told to bow their heads. "The entire theater was forced into a mass Christian prayer," she said. "I heard him refer to his 'Heavenly Father' and 'Lord.'"
read more here

Thursday, September 13, 2012

PTSD service dogs not welcomed at Fort Sam Houston

Wounded warrior says Ft. Sam Houston won't allow her service dog
by Karen Grace
Posted on September 13, 2012

SAN ANTONIO -- A wounded warrior says the military has let her down after taking away her life-saving service dog when she transferred to a San Antonio facility.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous because of her position in the Army, was given the dog to help her manage her post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after returning from duty in Afghanistan.

She had suffered a traumatic brain injury overseas that left her with painful memories. Until recently she had the dog by her side to protect her and comfort her.

"She wakes me up from my nightmares," she said. "Because of things in Afghanistan, I have a hard time."

However, the soldier was transferred from Fort Hood to Fort Sam Houston. Her beloved canine companion was unable to make the move to San Antonio.
read more here

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fort Bliss Retired Master Sgt. Not Silent About Combat PTSD

No longer suffering in silence
Veteran spreads message of healing invisible wounds
Fort Bliss Monitor
Sgt. Robert Larson
24th Press Camp Headquarters

Retired Army Master Sgt. Mike Martinez and his wife Maria conduct an interview with a reporter from Univision May 30 at the USO Caregivers Conference at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Martinez was recognized at the conference for his volunteer efforts working with the USO to educate the public about post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. Photo by Mark Matson, USO.

Many servicemembers come back for their deployments with visible wounds. Some have scars from the shrapnel that ripped through their bodies. Many have lost limbs or other body parts as a result of their service in Iraq or Afghanistan. But there are many more who come home with injuries that cannot be seen, “invisible wounds” that also need healing and support.

One of the many Soldiers who came back from down range with these invisible wounds is retired Master Sgt. Mike Martinez, an El Paso native and spokesperson for the United Service Organizations’ new Portraits campaign, a series of public service announcements designed to educate Americans on post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.

Martinez was deployed to Iraq three times during his military career, the first coming in 1990 shortly after joining the Army. The third and final time was in 2007, when an improvised explosive device ripped his vehicle in half. This was the second time Martinez, a first sergeant at the time, had been involved in an IED attack. This time his injures put him on a flight home.
read more here